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Ram Jethmalani wants Gadkari to quit, hits out at Rahul Gandhi

Pressure intensified on BJP president Nitin Gadkari today, as lawyer MP Ram Jethmalani said senior leaders Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh and Shatrughan Sinha were with him in seeking his ouster.

Gadkari, who has faced corruption allegations recently, was in a tight spot after he made a comment equating the IQ level of Swami Vivekananda and fugitive Mumbai don Dawood Ibrahim.

Jethmalani said he was in touch with Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha on the issue and they were all of the same view.

"I hope they will also take the same step. We are unanimous in our views and I have no doubt about it. They have not expressed them publicly and I hope they will express them soon," the Rajya Sabha member of the Bharatiya Janata Party said.

Ram Jethmalani
Ram Jethmalani (File pic)

"We four are of the clear view that the resignation of Gadkari is necessary," he said.

Jethmalani had sought Gadkari's resignation earlier as well, after allegations of corruption were levelled against him.

The veteran said he was contemplating resignation from the party, but decided to stay on in the interest of the nation.

"Basically, I thought I would resign from the party, but I believe that if in the present circumstances I resign, it will be betrayal of the whole nation. The nation needs an opposition party," the senior lawyer said.

Charges against Gadkari include land grab and improper business dealings as chairman of the Purti Group.

"On one side you have Mr. Gadkari who brackets Swami Vivekananda with Dawood. On the other side, our future prime minister who is about to be dumped on this country does not know the difference between Kargil and FDI. So, I have to make up my mind about who is worth it," Jethmalani said, pointing to remarks that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi made at the Sunday rally in New Delhi.

Gandhi said at the rally that just as the Congress had backed the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government during the Kargil war in 1998, the BJP should back the present UPA government's stance on Foreign Direct Investment.

Jethmalani said he fully backed his son Mahesh Jethmalani, who resigned from the BJP's national executive Monday, demanding Gadkari's resignation.

"I fully approve of the action of my son after this Vivekananda episode. I think we don't need to be associated with the party which he (Gadkari) is leading... nothing against him personally," Jethmalani said.

"Moreover, the philosophy of resigning corresponds to the life of public servants who are government servants. If an inquiry is on against a public servant, usually he is suspended; and if cleared, he comes back with renewed honour. That is exactly how Gadkari should behave," he told reporters. 

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